Get to know: Julie Brandao

Photo of Julie Brandao.

Julie Brandao serves as the Chair of the board of directors at CHI Memorial Foundation in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She holds a non-voting seat on the hospital’s board and is a member of the Friends of CHI Memorial Council.

Julie is a Chattanooga native who graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in art history. After graduation, she worked for the curator at the famed Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina before returning to Chattanooga to take a position with Junior Achievement. For the past 30 years, she has worked for McGriff Insurance Services where she serves as Vice President, Personal Lines. Julie’s eldest daughter recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and works for the Motley Fool in Washington D.C. Her youngest daughter is a freshman at Bucknell University.

Julie loves walking and being outdoors and is an avid reader but confesses that her non-profit work fills much of her time. In addition to CHI Memorial Foundation, she currently serves on three other non-profit boards, noting that “it’s hard to say no when it’s something you love!”

What was your first connection to CHI Memorial and the foundation?
About ten years ago I was asked by a good friend who goes to my church and is a leader in town if I would serve on the auction committee for Pink!, the annual gala to raise funds for the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center at CHI Memorial. She and her husband were the event’s co-chairs and they asked me to become involved. It was a wonderful experience.

How did you come to serve on the foundation’s board?
Once you’re involved, you really want to stay involved so after that I chaired the auction for two years and then I co-chaired sponsorship [for the event]. I was asked to co-chair Pink! in 2016, about the same time I was asked to serve on the foundation board. I pretty quickly got onto the executive committee, serving as Secretary, Vice Chair and currently as Chair.

Can you share your thoughts on philanthropy?
I don’t know if you’re born with a philanthropic heart and mind or if you acquire it, but my parents were always great examples of community volunteers. They, and other people in my life, taught me that giving back is something that makes you a full person. I've always had that ingrained in me.

With CHI Memorial, not only have I received care here but my parents started having health problems at about the same time that I became affiliated with the foundation. Because of the care we received and the fact that their mission and their values line up with the way I was brought up and what I believe, it’s an easy place for me to spend my time, talent and treasure.

What role does gratitude play in your philanthropy and service?
Any organization that I serve I have gratitude for because there is either something in their mission that has benefitted me and my family or that benefits our community as a whole. When you're grateful for what an organization does, it's only natural to want to support them and one of the ways you can give back and show gratitude is to give of your time, talent and treasure.

What excites you most about the next five years for the foundation and hospital?
We have a lot going on right now … a lot of capital projects including raising funds for the North Georgia hospital [in Catoosa County] which will be a game-changer in the area because there is currently a deficit of quality health care between Chattanooga and Dalton, Georgia. We also have a growing neuroscience program at CHI Memorial and the developing partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine. It’s an exciting time.